After The Daily Telegraph (and possibly English football depending on your standpoint), Gareth Southgate was the big winner in the fall out from the Sam Allardyce debacle.
The 46-year-old will take the England reins for games against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain in light of Allardyce’s removal from the hot seat.
According to The Times, Southgate wants to continue at the helm beyond his four-match assignment, which is understandable given his coaching career is in no way impressive enough to grant such an opportunity under normal circumstances.
It was undoubtedly a case of right place, right time for the England Under-21 boss and nothing short of four wins during this temporary spell is surely a prerequisite before the FA even contemplate allowing him to remain full time.
Encouragingly for the former Middlesbrough boss, the bookies at news.bwin reckon he’s got a reasonable chance of sweeping his fixture quota, pricing up four England victories under Southgate at 11/2.
Failure to beat a Malta side who have lost 16 of their last 21 games would be sufficient grounds for immediate dismissal and the same goes for Slovenia.
Srecko Katanec’s side are significantly stronger than Malta, but after twice losing to England in qualifying for Euro 2016 and winning just once since that campaign ended, anything but three points for the Three Lions would represent a minor regression at best.
Scotland will provide the sternest competitive test for Southgate, but again, his inherited side slammed six goals past them in two friendlies this decade, while Gordon Strachan’s men have won just three away matches (two were against Gibraltar and Malta) since prevailing in Poland in a 2014 friendly.
Unless disaster strikes, the bet should still be alive when Spain visit Wembley in November and a respectable recent home record against the 2010 world champions suggests England might well do the business, but even with a 100% record heading into 2017, it’s unlikely there’ll be a clamour to keep Southgate in the job.